Earth Liberation Front

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"No Compromise in Defence of Mother Earth"

Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are a direct-action activist group associated with ALF and ARM - like many extreme activists they are considered terrorists by some and freedom-fighters by others, the FBI however considered ELF to be one of the greatest threats to American security and condemn their use of arson as a favored assault - stating it is "sheer luck" that none have yet died due to the group's actions.

ELF has no centralized leadership, and most members operate either independently or with others in loose cells, claiming actions under the name. However, there are organizations, ELF Press Offices(typically one for each region), whose purpose is to publish claims of responsibility for attacks and distribute these claims to the wider media.

Attacks usually target businesses, construction projects, or other buildings that harm the environment in some way. Most commonly, this entails arson against SUVs and pickup trucks at car dealerships, new housing developments in rural areas, and universities involved in genetic engineering research.

The ELF peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but an FBI investigation known as Operation Backfire has led to a decrease in activity since it began in 2004 as more ELF members have been arrested.

Notable actions

  • April 1, 1992: ELF activists sabotage peat digging equipment in the UK in response to failed peaceful campaigns against peat bog harvesting. This is the first claimed ELF attack and there may have been others before.
  • November 1997: The ELF and ALF jointly claim responsibility for an arson attack targeting a Bureau of Land Management wild horse corral near Burns, Oregon in response to allegations that the horses were being slaughtered for meat.
  • June 1998: ELF or ALF members commit an arson attack against a USDA Animal Damage Control building near Olympia, Washington.
  • October 1998: The ELF claims responsibility for the arson of a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, in order to stop plans to expand which would damage lynx habitat in the area.